BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
Erica Garner, the daughter of Eric Garner, died on Saturday after being placed in a medically induced coma following an asthma attack that quickly turned into a heart attack.
Garner, 27, was known for being a champion of Black Lives Matter and a social and criminal justice reform activist following the death of her father, who died in 2014 after being placed in a chokehold by a city police officer in Staten Island. Garner was a Brooklyn resident.
On July 17, 2014, Garner, who also suffered from asthma, was forcefully put into a chokehold by Officer Daniel Pantaleo for approximately 15 to 19 seconds while the officer was arresting him for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes. While in the chokehold, Garner repeated the words, “I can’t breathe,” which became a slogan adopted at Black Lives Matter movement rallies.
Although a city medical examiner ruled that Garner’s death was a homicide, no charges were brought against Pantaleo.
Since the death of her father, Garner threw herself into the social justice movement and led a number of rallies.
“It is especially heartbreaking that this sudden and untimely loss of young Erica comes three years following the day she and her family were denied justice for the reckless chokehold death of her father,” said Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans). “Like those from past generations compelled to join the cause after being visited by deadly violence against men and women of color, Erica consistently spoke truth to power regardless of race or party affiliation, and challenged it to acknowledge the fundamental danger systemic racism poses to our society. To the very end, she pursued her work boldly, passionately and with integrity. Our hearts go out to the Garner family, to whom we owe our gratitude for all they have given despite all they have suffered.”
Garner leaves behind an 8-year-old daughter and a 4-month-old son.
Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) responded to Garner’s death on Twitter.
“Yes, injustice affects an entire family and community,” Richards tweeted following reports that Garner had died. “The death of Erica Garner is a stark reminder of why we must continue the fight to reform a system that has left so many families heartbroken with no justice.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio also praised Garner’s advocacy.
“Erica Garner’s death is a horrible tragedy,” said de Blasio. “I am praying for her family, who has already been through so much. This city will miss her unshakable sense of justice and passion for humanity.”
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144, firstname.lastname@example.org or @reporter_ariel.